Sodexo has been named the winning firm for Fordham University’s food service contract as the result of a bidding process that began in August 2012. The 10-year, multimillion-dollar contract will begin on July 1, 2013.
The new contract calls for new meal plan offerings, greater flexibility, better pricing for students, improved facilities (which Sodexo is backing with capital investments), and improved administrative support and oversight in areas such as quality assurance and supervision. The contract also provides for significant incentives and penalties tied to Sodexo’s performance in key areas. Five firms were qualified by Fordham’s outside consultant to bid (based on the resources of the vendor and their assessed ability to manage an account of Fordham’s size and complexity); three ultimately submitted bids.
“Sodexo is the best choice for Fordham’s dining services because it demonstrated its ability to accomplish a number of important objectives throughout the evaluation process this past year,” said Gabelli School junior Brendan Francolini, operations vice president of United Student Government (USG) at Rose Hill, and chair of the student engagement committee. “Sodexo will provide the most variety for students in regard to dining venues, meal plan options, and food preferences.”
Alexa Rodriguez, a senior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, said, “Sodexo offered the stronger proposal, and I think we will see real changes occur on campus, including improvement in the quality and variety of the food.”
Rodriguez served on the student engagement committee, and was president of USG at Lincoln Center this year. “I think Sodexo will be the better fit for Fordham—they are committed to doing whatever it takes to work with students to create the best dining service experience, and that is exactly what Fordham needs.”
The process, overseen by Jeffrey L. Gray, senior vice president for student affairs, was managed by a committee comprised of students and administrators, aided by an outside consulting firm, the Rochelle Group, which specializes in food service management. A group of eight student leaders served on a subcommittee formed specifically to address student concerns and preferences in food services.
“We think this contract offers substantial benefits to Fordham students and to the University,” Gray said. “I have to thank the committee members who evaluated the bids, especially the student members, who not only brought rigorous analysis to the process, but also helped drive revisions to the bids that substantially improved them.”
Aspects of the new contract include the following:
• More creative menus/varied choices
• More flexible meal plan options that include discounts and off-campus debit options
• Appointment of a food services contract liaison, a newly created position (recommended by Fordham’s consultants) with a salary to be funded by Sodexo
• Performance monitoring of Department of Health inspection results, student satisfaction, operational metrics, and regular third-party reviews
• Incentives and penalties tied to performance goals
• Increased supervisory personnel in quality assurance and management
• Sustainability initiatives
• Renovations of dining facilities
• On-site sanitarian
• On-site nutritionist
“The difference between Sodexo’s bid proposal and that of the other finalist was dramatic,” according to Stephen Erdman, a Fordham College at Rose Hill senior and president of USG at Rose Hill. “I feel confident that students will be very pleased with the facilities renovations, meal plan packages, and menu options Sodexo’s new contract will make possible next year.”